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Ken Carman: I Got Choked Up Seeing Jim Donovan Return to Browns Radio Booth

“The franchise has had an up-and-down journey since ‘99, and again, radio is a place where there’s truly a feeling of, ‘The person is with you,’ you have fun with that person and Jim is.”

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Jim Donovan
Courtesy: WKYC Channel 3

On Sunday afternoon, Cleveland Browns fans were treated to a thrilling 13-10 win over the rival Pittsburgh Steelers on a game-winning field goal. Aside from the historic rivalry, Browns fans were elated to welcome legendary play-by-play announcer Jim Donovan back to the broadcast booth, calling his first game since Week 1 after undergoing treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia. The situation warmed the heart of 92.3 The Fan morning host Ken Carman.

Donovan is in the midst of his 25th season calling games for the team and also works as the sports anchor for 3News (WKYC), a role he will resume on Monday. He had previously been diagnosed with the disease but experienced a relapse last year, resulting in a more aggressive treatment method to effectively combat it.

The Browns’ victory puts the team at 7-3 on the season despite losing quarterback Deshaun Watson for the remainder of the season with a shoulder injury. Donovan was on the call for the victory, which circulated across social media and elicited praise from football fans at large welcoming him back to the broadcast booth. At the start of the game, fans seated in front of the broadcast booth at Cleveland Browns Stadium turned around and cheered for Donovan as he began his work for the day.

“I know he got a little choked up later on. I mean, how could you not?,” 92.3 The Fan morning co-host Ken Carman said on Monday. “To see the outpouring of love that the Browns fans had for him – and the place was going nuts; the lid was coming off the place when he went out there and smashed the guitar.”

Before the game, the Browns honored Donovan by allowing him to engage in the ceremonial guitar smash. After the contest ended, head coach Kevin Stefanski presented him with a game ball in the team’s locker room, completing a long-awaited return to the broadcast booth and conveying a sense of respect between team personnel and the franchise’s heralded play-by-play announcer.

“The franchise has had an up-and-down journey since ‘99, and again, radio is a place where there’s truly a feeling of, ‘The person is with you,’ you have fun with that person and Jim is,” Ken Carman continued. “We said this to Jim on Friday – Jim is one of the people that can still, in this business, give his opinion while the game is going on.

“You hear the horror stories of other teams where guys are muzzled about the teams, and the teams are not good and it becomes just another kind of P.R. for the team, and Jim has always – he’s not sitting there rubbing it in their noses if they haven’t been good obviously – but he’s certainly been a guy, and we know that he’s shared his opinion.”

Earlier this year, the Baltimore Orioles suspended play-by-play broadcaster Kevin Brown after he reportedly made remarks portraying the team in a poor light. In reality, he was reading a statistic outlining the team’s difficulties winning ballgames against the Tampa Bay Rays, statistics that came from the team’s game notes.

The situation caused several broadcasters and fans to implore the Orioles to add him back on the broadcasts, which ultimately ended up occurring after two weeks away from the team. In witnessing restrictions placed on broadcasters over the years, Carman is grateful that Donovan has made his return to the air.

“To have Jim back where he is – through all the changes; through all the hope of this quarterback and that quarterback, and this coach and that coach; two different owners,” Ken Carman explained, “to have Jim back, it means so much to the fanbase because he’s the storyteller; he’s the one that paints the picture for those who can’t be there.”

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Boomer Esiason: People Watch Stephen A. Smith ‘Because of Him and What He’s Going to Say’

“What other alternative or where else can he go?”

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Graphic for the Boomer & Gio Show and a photo of Stephen A. Smith

With reports coming out that ESPN had made an initial contract offer of 5 years and $90 million dollars to Stephen A. Smith, various sports show hosts have weighed in and given their opinions. Such was the case during Boomer & Gio this morning on WFAN with Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti.

“Have you seen any of this Stephen A. Smith contract stuff that’s going on?” Giannotti asked.

“I have seen it, yes,” Esiason said. “Listen, the guy works his ass off, he is definitely a firestarter for that network and quite frankly he has built himself into a one man show.”

Giannotti replied, “He’s had success. He’s one of the bigger voices in sports if not the biggest voice in sports.”

Esiason added, “What’s different about him compared to Troy [Aikman] or Tony [Romo] or somebody else – people are going to tune in to watch the football game no matter who is doing it. People are watching him because of him and what he’s going to say.”

Giannotti reviewed the report of how much was offered and mentioned the other reports that say Smtih is looking for closer to $25 million per year. He also mentioned Dan Le Batard saying he thought ESPN had lowballed Smith with the offer.

Giannotti said, “This is one of those things that is just hard to calculate. I don’t know how much money they would lose if he wasn’t there. This is something I’d love to know…how many advertising dollars, how many things that they sell because he is there equates to a loss if he leaves?”

Esiason then said, “Here’s what I would ask. What other alternative or where else can he go?” He then later added, “In our medium on a national basis…both he and Pat McAfee have brought eyeballs or attention to ESPN for different reasons, and I think that if they can extract that kind of money out of those companies, good for them. I have no problem with any of it.”

Giannotti continued to ask about the ad dollars, but Esiason explained there were a lot of other factors that come into play.

“I don’t know about the advertising,” he said. “I think it’s more about the subscription services. I think it’s more about the fact that they use him in every single aspect they possibly can…He’s on that morning show…but then he’s all over the NBA playoffs, he’s all over the NFL playoffs. He’s all over everything. I couldn’t even imagine. I know what it was like for me when I was doing NFL Today, Monday Night Football and this radio program. It was exhausting…I know that he has complained about how much he is asked to do over there.”

All of this led to a discussion about a weekly Smith guest on First Take, Chris ‘Mad Dog’ Russo. “I tell you what, when he is on there, I find him to be extremely entertaining,” Esiason said. “The interaction between the two of them is about as entertaining as it can get on television…If I was ‘Dog’ I would quit [SiriusXM] cuz nobody hears you and go over [to ESPN] and take a full-time spot over there and get paid.”

“I don’t know if they’re offering a full-time spot for him over there, he’s like a novelty,” Giannotti replied.

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ESPN Chicago Announces 2024 Football Fest with Adam Schefter and Field Yates

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned.”

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Graphic for ESPN Chicago's Football Fan Fest
Graphic Courtesy: ESPN Chicago on Facebook

ESPN Chicago announced the return of Football Fest, an event they started in 2022. The 2024 edition will take place at the Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana on Sunday, August 25. ESPN NFL insiders Adam Schefter and Field Yates are back as guests and will share insights and engage with fans throughout the event.

“Football Fest is the unofficial kickoff of the NFL season, and I am excited about this year’s fest, from the stars we’ll have in the room to the show we have planned,” said Danny Zederman, director of content for ESPN Chicago in a release. “We listened to fan feedback, and we’ve added new ways for fans to interact with their favorite ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities, as well as a live onstage version of our fan-favorite, unfiltered podcast Crosstalk Unhinged with Carm, Jurko, Waddle, and Silvy.”

ESPN Chicago and Bears Radio Network personalities will be available for meet & greets with fans taking photos and signing autographs. The Good Karma Brands owned station says the event “will consist of live programming from local and national experts on the upcoming football season, fantasy football, as well as games, vendors, and more.”

$10 tickets for the event are on sale through Ticketmaster.com.

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ESPN 103.7/104.1 Unveils New Lineup; Dawson Eiserloh Gets Solo Midday Show

“Can’t wait for this new challenge that’ll begin live from SEC Media Days next month.”

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Logo for ESPN SWLA and a photo of Dawson Eiserloh
Photo Courtesy: Dawson Eiserloh X Account

ESPN 103.7 in Lafayette, Louisiana and 104.1 in Lake Charles have announced a new, all live and local weekday lineup. Local programming will now be heard from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Starting on Monday, July 15 former LSU basketball player Jordy Hultberg will move The Jordy Hultberg Show to morning drive and go from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. He will be followed by Footenotes with Kevin Foote from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

The lunchtime show will still feature RP3 and Meche, hosted by Raymond Partsch III and James Meche and it will air from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. That show had also previously featured Dawson Eiserloh, however, he will now move to the 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. slot to host his own show which will be called The Lohdown with D-Loh.

Eiserloh posted on his X account, “Really excited to announce I’ll be getting a solo show weekdays from 1-3 pm on ESPN Southwest Louisiana. Can’t wait for this new challenge that’ll begin live from SEC Media Days next month.”

After Further Review with Matt Moscona will follow in afternoon drive and airs from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. The station also carries play-by-play for LSU athletics and the Houston Astros.

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